Castara Retreats

Castara, Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean
Book from GBP Book from £117 per night

Castara Retreats

Castara, Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean

Treehouse-style eco-lodges (for 2-5) peeking out from tangled rainforest, with turquoise ocean views, a warm welcome and a sustainable outlook

Treehouse-style eco-lodges (for 2-5) peeking out from tangled rainforest, with turquoise ocean views, a warm welcome and a sustainable outlook

Castara Retreats' hardwood tree-houses are nestled within lush coastal rainforest, with every apartment offering views over highlighter-blue sea framed by mango trees, glossy-leafed succulents and coconut palms. This is a laidback idyll, with verandas hung with hammocks from where you can watch hummingbirds whirr and fishermen haul in their nets. A collaboration between a British family – who visited on holiday and fell in love with the location – and Tobago locals Porridge and Jeanell – who run things here – Castara is not a place where you’ll have your hand held, but you’ll be made to feel at home. Porridge appears to be everywhere at once, providing car hire, taxi service, and running much-loved boat trips in his fishing boat, ‘Sun Arise’.

The setting is the unspoilt northwestern coast of Tobago on a golden crescent bay. Start your day with a yoga class in the Wellness Studio. Take boats or paddleboards out on the water, book a birding tour or dive trip, hunt for wildlife and waterfalls in the rainforest. Return to Castara for a full body massage to a soundtrack of birdsong and ocean waves. When you've worked up an appetite, there’s the in-house sea view Caribbean Kitchen serving local dishes as well as handmade pasta, or head to the nearby village to eat. This is no ivory tower of a resort, they encourage you to support local businesses while enjoying the tropical dreamland surroundings.

Highs

  • The setting – you get both rainforest and beach
  • Locally run and embedded in the local community so you can experience the calming Tobago “go-slow” vibe. No need for a car, you can walk to shops, beach, restaurants and rainforest
  • Activities galore including boat trips and yoga on the deck; this is a fun place for the solo traveller
  • Accommodation comes with glorious sea views from decks and balconies, and open-air living rooms and self-catering kitchens
  • An excellent sustainable ethos: lodges have green roofs; extensive tree and shrub planting; the tropical gardens are a wildlife sanctuary; recycling and composting; low energy consumption

Lows

  • This is an authentic rustic retreat rather than a sleek five-star resort
  • No swimming pool, but that beautiful ocean is right at your toe-tips
  • Insects are naturally abundant in this rainforest location, however, every bed has full length mosquito nets
  • Access to the apartments is up steep stepped slopes, which are on various levels, so it's not suitable for many disabled guests
  • Caribbean Kitchen prices are higher, helping to avoid competition to the village

Best time to go

It's warm year-round in Tobago, but the dry season is January to May. From June to December there are afternoon rain showers. The ocean in July and August is usually very calm, perfect for snorkelling and younger families. Although the Caribbean hurricane season runs from June to November, Tobago is rarely affected.

Our top tips

Book Porridge’s all-day beach, barbecue and snorkelling boat trip. It's a great way to make friends with other guests and to get to know Porridge and his son Shaq, who are very good company. Fish caught by guests appear on the lunch table at Big Bay, the most idyllic beach on Tobago.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Eco-Retreat
  • 17 lodges (for 2-5)
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Laundry service
  • Wellness Studio
Room:

Rooms

There are 13 one-bed, and four two-bed properties in beautiful hardwood structures, with beds draped in snow-white mosquito nets. All apartments have open-air living rooms with views. Of the larger lodges, Birdsong is found, appropriately, amid the birds, 20 feet up and on two levels, with two terraces (a double hammock on one, sunbeds on the other). Treetops feels as if it’s in the branches of a huge mango tree, with views on several sides, but is closest to the village. Rainforest feels immersed in the jungle, but still offers dazzling views.

The one-bed apartments also feature terraces and covered decks from where you can watch hummingbirds in the morning and fireflies spark in the evening. They have rustic polished hardwood interiors, yet still all have their own unique character. For example, Fisherman’s was once a fisherman’s shack, and original features such as the weatherboard exterior have been preserved, while Beachscape feels especially secluded. If you take both Hummingbird apartments together, you get a lovely long terrace. Shady Mango and Coco Palm share a terrace and also have access to a communal ocean view terrace steps away.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • In room treatments available
  • Iron
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

You can book to eat at the veranda restaurant Caribbean Kitchen in the evenings, which features Caribbean fusion cuisine, and where the fresh fish on the menu – such as red snapper, kingfish, or barracuda – has been brought into the bay on fishing boats that morning. Dishes use local spices such as jerk fish of the day or Caribbean meatballs. The bar offers fresh juice from organic fruits picked from the surrounding trees. There are local rums, and you can feast on award-winning chocolate from the Tobago Cocoa Plantation.

Castara also encourage guests to spend money outside the retreat, to benefit local businesses. So do go to eat at local restaurants, or buy food in the village to bring back to cook, and then eat on your terrace overlooking the ocean. Every apartment and lodge has a well-equipped kitchen, which comes supplied with salt, pepper, tea, milk, bin bags and cleaning products, plus cafetière, cooker and fridge-freezer. It's a good idea to do a shop at the Pennysavers supermarket en route from the airport (and the cash machine if required), and the village has several small grocery shops which are fun to explore.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Oven
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Discover pristine tropical beaches along the western coast and interior waterfalls in the world's oldest nature reserve (Main Ridge Forest Reserve, est 1776)
  • Explore the richness of the long-protected rainforest, and spot brilliant birdlife in the canopy; book a tour for a more in-depth understanding of this wonderful ecosystem
  • Take a daily drop-in yoga class or book a 1:1 session at Castara's Wellness Studio, or have a massage or Indian head massage in the beautiful, ocean-view, open-air pavilion
  • Go stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking through mangrove lagoons at night to swim amid phosphorescent plankton
  • Ride bareback through the ocean shore with local outfit Being with Horses
  • Book a diving trip run by local experts
  • See how chocolate is made at the Cocoa Plantations
  • Take a boat trip to the Nylon pool (so-named by Princess Margaret), a luminous lagoon in the ocean, accessible by boat

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • SUP
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga

Kids

This is a great place for kids, with apartments sleeping four and plenty of activities locally, as well as easy beach access. Baby cots with mosquito nets are free of charge but you will need to bring your own bedding; an additional mattress on the floor with a mosquito net incurs an additional cost.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The three larger two-bed lodges are ideal for families, sleeping up to five plus a baby; all have two ensuite shower rooms, large outdoor living rooms and kitchens for self-catering. Birdsong is best for families that want privacy, as it's on two levels. Various of the one-bed apartments can take an extra bed or baby cot; all apart from Firefly and Tamarind can take a baby cot. Hummingbird 1 & 2 are adjoining one-bed apartments that can connect to make a two bedroom apartment with extra long terrace.

Families Should Know:

There's no swimming pool. Be careful if swimming further out than the sheltered bay.

Distances:

  • Airport: 55 minutes by car
  • Hospital: 40 minutes by car (Scarborough)
  • Shops: 7 minutes walk
Kid Friendly:

Location

Castara Retreats is just outside Castara, a 300m-long golden-sanded beach, dotted by a few low-key bars and restaurants. It's on Tobago's unspoilt north-western coast.

By Air:
Fly to ANR Robinson International Airport, from which it's a 32 km journey, which takes about an hour.

By Car:
Castara don't advise self-driving from the airport, they suggest organising a transfer for you. If you want to hire a car to explore the island, arrange to have it brought to Castara Retreats the following day. Do stay on the main roads as it is easy to get lost otherwise. If you want to hire a car, see our recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • ANR Robinson International Airport 32.0 km TAB

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Rates for Castara Retreats

Arriving on: